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poet

Tiana Clark

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Tiana Clark
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Tiana Clark is the author of I Can't Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. She is the recipient of a 2019 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the 2017 Furious Flower Poetry Center's Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. She teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

by this poet

poem
	    for Kenneka Jenkins and her mother

What is it about my mother’s face, a bright burn
when I think back, her teeth, her immaculate teeth

that I seldom saw or knew, her hair like braided
black liquorice. I am thinking of my mother’s face,

because she is like the mother in the news whose
daughter was
2
poem
   after Carrie Mae Weems’s Roaming series

Before I knew
how to fill my onyx body
with slick measures,

dip every curve
in my skin with dark sway,
I needed a picture.

Before me stood
a long black dress I called Woman—
you stand opaque

with your back to me,
a statue of witness,
the door of Yes
poem

                                                 I was born into this world sideways.
                                 Doctor said,
                                                 surgery, to break my face
                           set it right again